HC Rex Ryan
Opening Statement: Alright, here we go. Obviously, we’ve got a big challenge in front of us. We recognize that. Guys that are not expected to practice today: Lorenzo Alexander, and that’s a non-football injury. We’re just going to give a veteran the day off here. I think he had like 80 snaps last week when you combine special teams and defensive snaps so [we’re] giving him a day off. Zach Brown and Adolphus Washington. Both of them have an illness, so it’s not injury related but they will not practice today because of illness. Corbin Bryant with a shoulder, Charles Clay ankle, Cordy Glenn ankle, Lerentee McCray is out with a knee, [LeSean] Shady McCoy is going to continue to get treatment on his hamstring and I guess we’ll see how he progresses, obviously through the week, but he’s not expected to practice today. Marquise Goodwin is in the concussion protocol, so obviously he will not practice today. Aaron Williams is out and will not practice with the neck [injury]. Our medical staff continues to monitor his situation but he is not practicing. These players are all limited today: Marcell Dareus with a hamstring, Mike Gillislee foot, Seantrel Henderson back, Jerry Hughes hand, John Miller shoulder, and Robert Woods has progressed to the point where he’s going to be limited today in practice, which is a good sign with that foot. So, that’s the injury front.
Q: When you said “Aaron Williams: Out,” you just meant out for today, right?
A: Out for today, yup.
Q: He’s cleared from concussions and stuff?
A: He does not have a concussion. It’s a neck [injury].
Q: Is Marquise Goodwin not playing Sunday?
A: Yeah, I would say so.
Q: What about LeSean [McCoy]?
A: Yeah, we’ll see. I think today we’ll find out more about him. They’re doing tests and things like that so we’ll see. We’ll probably have a better idea.
Q: Can you even have practice today with all of these guys out?
A: Pretty much. I think we’ve got Billy Shaw starting at guard, I think. We feel good. I think he’s ready to go.
Q: What about Marcell [Dareus]? The fact that he’s going to be on the field, how encouraging is that and what might it mean for Sunday?
A: Well I hope he’s ready to play Sunday. We’ve gone the whole year and [Dareus] hasn’t played a single snap yet so we’re hoping that he’s out there. Obviously he’s one of the best players at his position in the league so it’d be a big boost for us if he’s ready to play.
Q: Considering all of this, is this not the ideal time to play the Patriots? I know before you said it was one of the best times to play one of the top teams, but maybe not this week?
A: Well I think the last time was a great time to play them. Like you said, it was a great time to play them. They’ve got a new player back there for some reason. He looks decent. I shouldn’t make waves by saying he doesn’t look the same to me.
Q: Have you ever seen a quarterback that good at age 40?
A: I think you can cut it off and say, “Have you ever seen a quarterback that good?” The fact that you put that age in there, I’d say that’s an accurate statement. You know, I’ll admit it. It was probably an easier game to play them without [Brady]. I’m here to say it was easier.
Q: Probably easier?
A: Well, you know. I just stick to the truth. I try to tell you the truth.
Q: How does he just, without being obvious, how does he just give that team that focus and identity that, you know, given how you beat them up the last time without ---
A: Well, I don’t know if you could say that we beat them up. We won the game, so that was great. Every other time, I’ve had to play against him at quarterback. But he’s the best player at his position, and obviously quarterback, in this league, is the most important position. So it’s a big challenge. You know, any time you go against him. If he knows what you’re in, you’re in trouble.
Q: So last time you went into the game knowing you weren’t going to face him, and now it’s the opposite. What changes from your prep standpoint?
A: I’m not saying one way or the other. I mean, obviously, you’re not – things have changed a little bit. That’s pretty obvious.
Q: You now have 20 – what is it now – 21 sacks in 7 games. It’s a different pass rushing team from a year ago, so do you get more faith going into this game?
A: Well, we’ve got to have a good plan. I think, you know, he scorched us the first time. He knew exactly what we were in. We’ve got to be ready. We know what we’re going to get. We’re assuming we’re going to get way more of what Brady does. They play more up-tempo so you’re going to get more know-how and you’re going to get way more empty, you’re going to do all those types of things. So we’ve got to have a great plan for him and hopefully we can somehow keep him off balance.
Q: Is there any carry-over with the experience you’ve had going against him and game-planning for him? The second time you played him last year – in Foxborough – I thought it was one of your best of the season in terms of the performance of that defense. Can you take anything from that or is it a blank sheet?
A: Well you don’t want to present the same picture, because once he’s seen it, he’s got great recall and he’s got the skill to beat you. So hopefully, you can paint a different picture for him.
Q: Rex, in the first game, you did a really good job in coverage. But was that because of the fact that their quarterback wasn’t capable of doing a whole lot or was it because your defense, that day, just locked those guys down? How would you characterize that?
A: No. I mean, Tom Brady is not the only guy out there. Everybody’s out there, so I think we looked like the better team that day. We’ll see who the better team is this day. But, you know, for who was out there – we were definitely the better team that day.
Q: Rex, with that injury report, how do you not get discouraged?
A: Well, I’m encouraged by the fact that it looks like there’s a chance that we’re going to get Marcell [Dareus] back, so I’m encouraged by that. We’ll be fine. We just move on.
Q: Rex, with the tackling issues that you had last week, what level of concern do you have going up against a guy like LeGarrette Blount?
A: Well, it’s the same thing. He’ll to the same thing that that kid did in Miami to us if we don’t tackle better than we did. We definitely understand that.
Q: [Ronald] Darby and [Stephon] Gilmore have been up and down a little bit this year. How important is it that they play their best game of the season on Sunday?
A: I think it’s a challenge for them but it’s a challenge for all of us. We know we have to be at our very best. There’s no question about that.
Q: Rex, what’s it like for you prepping for the Patriots? You gave so much credit to Tom Brady, but you’ve been successful – at least your defenses have been – over the years. Do you enjoy scheming against them on a week like this?
A: I’d much rather scheme against some other team – a team down at the bottom [rather] than at the top. I think, as a competitor, then, obviously this team is ranked – what, #1 in the power rankings or whatever? They’ve won our division forever. As a competitor, you want to go against the best or you want to see how you stand up against the very best and we’ll find out on Sunday how we stand up against these guys.
Q: Did anything jump out at you regarding Shaq Lawson this week, even though he didn’t play too many snaps?
A: I thought he played really well for first time out. You know, he’s had like three days of practice and I thought he did well. He had a couple shots at some sacks. You know, we lost contain on one. I think we would’ve contained him. I think he would’ve come around and got him. But it was good to see. We’ll just mix him in a little more as we get going.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about Ed Eagan?
A: Yeah, he looks a lot like Wes Welker. We’ll see if he plays like Wes Welker. I can’t promise you that, but he looks like him.
Q: On kickoffs you are leading the league, 11 drives started inside the 20. Have you gotten to the point now where you want Carpenter to kick to the goal line and make them return, rather than give it to them at the 25?
A: Well I think a lot of times, it depends who that returner is. You know, if you have Mack Herron back there, you want to kick it out of the end zone. But—that was a great one, you’ve got to admit. Really was. You know, Sam “Bam” Cunningham, you’re going to let him return it. But I think it does depend on who the returner is, and the type of team that you’re facing.
Q: Also your kickoff coverage team is one of the best in the league. So isn’t that a strength? Don’t you want to play to that and make them put it on your coverage?
A: Well I really think that’s what we did initially, you know, the thinking was that when you pick up a Lorenzo Alexander. By the way, I think he’s third or fourth in the league in special team tackles. We all know he leads the league in sacks and forced fumbles, but I think he’s fourth in the league in tackles on special teams. Man, this kid’s been special. But when we brought in Colt Anderson, we brought in some of those guys, to get (Marcus) Easley back, that was kind of the, we thought that we would be able to do that? But right now, you know, you’re missing Colt, you’re missing Easley, you know, we’ll see. Absolutely, and guys are doing a great job at it.
Q: Where are things with Marcus Easley and Kolby Listenbee?
A: I think there a long ways out.
Q: Could they not play again this season?
A: I mean that’s a possibility.
Q: The Deflategate thing has created an anger, hunger in the Patriots, and motivated Tom Brady. Do you wish the league hadn’t done it?
A: I’m not going to say anything about that. Like I said, I was happy with the results when we played them last time.
Q: Do you agree with how hungry and motivated they seem to be?
A: Well I mean, they’re in first place or whatever, so that team is always driven by that. Their goals are set much higher than whatever, and they should be. I don’t necessarily buy in to all that. Just know, just like us, we’re driven, maybe it’s for whatever reason but I don’t think the Defelategate would have them more motivated than they always are.
Q: Is that to say that we shouldn’t expect Walt Patulski to join into Tom Brady’s conference call at 4:30?
A: Could be. I’m not sure what Walt’s doing.
Q: The emotions of last time, there was the little thing before the game and the chippiness. Do you have any concerns about keeping control?
A: No, there’s no concern whatsoever as far as that is. You know, we want to win the football game. So all of that other stuff, you know, that doesn’t help you win. And we’ve just got to be focused on doing our best to win the game. That other stuff, it doesn’t help you.
Q: Are you encouraged about Robert Woods? Can you tell us about the progress that he’s making?
A: Well I’m just encouraged by the fact that he’s going to be limited. You know, I think last week he couldn’t practice so that’s encouraging to me.
Q: Rex, what did you see on tape from last week with the offensive line, and what can you do this week with the Patriots?
A: Well we’ll see. Every week is different. You know, we know that we have to be able to run the ball with way more efficiency than we did that past week. There’s no doubt about that.
Q: You guys were extremely creative on offense, especially on that opening drive. If you don’t have LeSean McCoy this week, do you still think you can be creative on offense?
A: Oh yeah. I mean obviously you can’t just—you know, I mean you can go out there and beat your head on the wall like that but each week we come up with different plans and the main thing is, like I said, we know we have to be more efficient in the running game. And especially with some of the injuries that we’ve had outside. You know, if we can’t run the ball, we’re going to be in trouble.
Q: Is there any concern with Mike Gillislee?
A: Yeah, I think he’s going to be ok.
Q: When both of their tight ends are healthy, what are the unique challenges? It seems that these two are sort of a different monster.
A: Well I think that the difference, I mean they’re both Pro Bowl tight ends. And so that’s one thing. They both have great ability as blockers. And then they can be vertical receivers, they can be possession receivers. You know they’re 6’7” or 6’8” or whatever they are. I mean they’re huge. It’s just, you know they’ve got a massive catching radius, they can run after the catch, they’re competitive. Other than that, they’re not any good. You know what I said in the offseason, about—it’s difficult man.
Q: As a defensive game planner, have you ever seen anything like those guys? Have you ever had to prepare for an offense that’s like that?
A: I mean, back when they had [Rob] Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, they were pretty special then, too. But, it’s different. You’ve got two of those guys with the kind of size they have. They can put them outside, inside, put them on the line. They present a lot of problems.
Q: Do you have a weekly course? You talked about tackling. Does that re-focus the team? Just getting back to the basics when you were pretty upset at the film and maybe a little embarrassed getting run over for 200-something yards?
A: Yeah, without question. It’s not something I’m really used to. I mean, it happens in the league, and it’s happened to me before, but I don’t know about anyone individual. I don’t know if it ever did, to be honest, but it’s not a good feeling.
Q: With Sammy [Watkins] still weeks away until he could possibly re-join the team, is there any update you could give us on his health status?
A: Well, he’s out of the boot so I guess that’d be a positive.
Q: Coach Belichick agreed with you and said that this was a significant game for them, as well. What do you tell your guys in the meeting room, getting ready for this? I know you stress how important this is, but what are you actually saying to the team?
A: Well, I think we all know who we’re trying to chase. If we’re able to win this game, then obviously you’re one game behind them. You’re still behind them, but you’re one game behind them. It would be significant for us. It’s in our division. If you’re trying to chase it, then you’ve got to beat them. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t, then you can think, “Well, you’ve still got a chance at the division.” You really don’t. This team is pretty darn talented. It doesn’t mean you won’t make the playoffs, but the likelihood of catching them is probably not very high.
Q: Do you realize that no team in the division has ever swept them in the regular season with Brady?
A: I could’ve guessed that. We beat them twice, but we never swept them in the regular season. We also got beat 45-3 by them in the same season. I remember that one.
LB Lorenzo Alexander
Q: How are you feeling after a veteran’s day off?
A: I mean I have a little bit of energy. They’re just doing a good job of taking care of me, don’t want to be dumb-tough, as I like to call it. I mean I could get out there and practice today but after having so many reps, especially on special teams as well, just want to make sure that I’m fresh for this game this weekend.
Q: Those Patriots tight ends are pretty talented.
A: Yeah, they’re big, tough, physical. Obviously very athletic, have a lot of production, especially since Tom (Brady) has come back, so we’re going to have our hands full, especially in the run game. They do a really good job as far as being physical there, so we’re going to have to set the edge, be physical all day and then try to cover when we have that opportunity as well.
Q: How much of it is your call if you need a break? You play so much. Do you ever tell the coaches you need a break?
A: Um, if I went to the coaches and asked them, they probably would do it, but I’m cuffing the old cloth. I’ve been undrafted in this league so I’ve always had the mentality I need to be out there, so when it comes from top-down, I’m going to take it just because, like I said, I want to be smart versus I want to be out there and show everybody I can get through it because it’s all about being fresh and ready to go on Sundays.
Q: Marcell Dareus says he’s ready to go and he’ll be out there Sunday.
Q: When you hear stuff like that…
A: We need him. Obviously he’s going to add to our depth. Getting Shaq (Lawson) back last week, he’s got a game under his belt, now getting ‘Cell back is going to be huge for us. Just more bodies to throw at their offensive line and continue to try to bother Brady as much as possible when he’s in that pocket.
Q: How different is preparing for this week with Brady in there is it as opposed to last time you guys played them?
A: I mean it’s huge. I mean you’re playing against a Hall of Famer, arguably, probably, the best quarterback that’s ever played this game so his skillset is a lot different. It’s more sound, his ability to read coverages, get the ball out of his hands, discern what the defense is trying to do—it’s just on another level. So we have to do a good job of trying to move around, trying to confuse him if you can confuse him and get our hands on the ball if possible on the backend to create some turnovers.
LB Preston Brown
Q: Does it amaze you that Tom Brady could be off for a month and at his age be slinging it just as well as he always has?
A: Ah, yeah. I mean when you’re one of the best quarterbacks of all time, a month off isn’t going to do nothing to you. He’s definitely going out there and playing well. I mean we wouldn’t expect nothing less from him so, he’s going out there finding mismatches, finding open receivers, and doing what he does best.
Q: How is their offense different with him rather than the other guys?
A: I mean when we played against (Jacoby) Brissett, I mean it was totally different. He couldn’t throw on the other side of the field. It was definitely different having a guy, swinging around everywhere across the field to the open receiver. So we got one of the best quarterbacks ever, so you’ve got to go up there and try to make plays on the ball.
Q: As a total offense, they’ve got the two tight ends, they’ve got Gronk (Rob Gronkowski). Is this maybe the tallest task you’ve seen the entire year?
A: Definitely. These two weeks right here are probably the two best teams in the league right now so we’ve got to go out there and try to make a run. You got two of the best tight ends in the league, you’ve got quick receivers outside that make plays in space, and you’ve got a running back who’s running with the best in the league. So definitely a tough challenge for us, but we’re ready for it.
DT Corbin Bryant
Q: Is there a focus on tackling after what happened last week and with LeGarrette Blount coming in this week?
A: Every week, tackling is important. You know we have to go out there and take Blount down. I feel like the first time we played him, we did a great job of getting him on the ground, making sure we’re staying in our gaps and playing sound football. You know, we could go back to that and see what we did well against him. You know I’m sure they’ll come back and come at us a little bit differently but we’ll be ready for it.
Q: How hard is it to get after Brady, as quick as he’s able to deliver the ball?
A: You know, it can be frustrating at times, but that’s the thing that we’re telling each other, you know, we can’t get frustrated just because we’re not getting to them just stay the course because eventually, if we keep rushing them, we’re going to get to them eventually. So everybody’s got to stay patient and keep doing their jobs and you know our back end is going to do a great job of plastering their receivers, so that’s going to give us a chance to get him.
Q: How good is it to have Marcell Dareus back in the fold and ready to go?
A: It’s great. Any time you get one of your best players back, it’s huge. So we’re happy to have him back and happy to have him, first and foremost, healthy. Healthy is the biggest thing, you know, for a guy in the locker room. So yeah, we’re definitely excited about him.
DT Marcell Dareus
Q: What are your chances, you think of playing Sunday?
A: Oh my god. I’m playing Sunday, man. I can’t wait. I’m ready to enjoy myself. Just happy to be out there with the guys. Running around, feeling good. We’re ready to go pull it off man, we’re going to make it happen.
Q: So, previously you got re-injured coming back. What have you been able to do just from a conditioning stand point to make sure that this works out. How have you gone about that?
A: I did whatever the team needed me to do. Whatever our trainers requested of me, whatever our strength coaches felt was best, stuck to a strict plan and hopefully this time it works because I don’t need any more minor set-backs. I’m ready to play, man. Sitting on the bench isn’t even fun.
Q: It appeared to be even tougher Marcell, watching the area of the game where you probably could have helped out a lot where the running back ran for 214 yards.
A: It’s pretty hard sitting there and not being able to help. It was a point where being the biggest cheerleader didn’t matter. I really just wanted to be out there. I always want to help more than just pep the guys up. It was a tough game.
Q: The injury list is so long this week, for you what does it feel like to be able to go help your team out and fill some of those voids?
A: Like I said I’m just excited to be back. I know the injury list is long, but just me being back really just fills me with joy and everyone else on the team, they’re happy for me to be back. I’m just happy to be back. I was on the injury list, I’m not really even worried, I’ll just do what I have to do.
Q: You know the challenge because you’ve faced this before with Tom Brady. What do you see from this guy now because it seems that he’s playing the best football maybe of his life and at the advanced stage of his career it’s pretty remarkable?
A: I mean, it looks like he plays the same every year. He’s a pretty good player. I love playing against him. He’s the type of competitor that I feel that I am and I just like to go out there and show him what I have. I just can’t wait to see the guy, it’s good to see him across the field trying to get away from me.
Q: Is he the best you’ve ever seen?
A: It’s hard to say he’s not.
Q: I know that you said it was hard to see your teammates play. Especially Sunday how hard was it to watch them especially because the run game was going well. How tough was it to watch that for your teammates?
A: You know, like I said, it’s just hard being cheerleader and trying to root the guys on. It was at a point where that’s not really affective. I really just wanted to go out there and help the guys, give them some relief, but not being able to just made it harder. Of course it’s pretty tough. It’s kinda hard to put in words.
Q: You got a chance to talk to Bruce Smith and Cornelius Bennett before the game, can you share any of that conversation?
A: Of course, a little bit. Bruce and Cornelius are just the guys you admire. The guys you look up to. Cornelius is from my area in Alabama. Bruce Smith, Hall of Famer, big time guy. Just words of wisdom, words of encouragement. It just means a lot to me and gave me more of a burst, more of an urge to get back and do the best I can.
Q: Anything during the conversation where Bruce said he would be keeping our eye on you?
A: Eh, I’m just going to keep the conversation between me and those two guys. We’re pretty close I guess.
Q: How do you guys approach Legarrette Blount knowing it can be a battling game?
A: I’m not really worried about Blount. You know, as long as we do our assignment, fill our gaps, feel out the plays, you don’t have anywhere to go. He has nowhere to go, so it’s not a big deal. We’ll just do our assignments, be key as to what’s going on, play smart, play sound football. I feel like we will be alright.
Q: You say you’re excited to get back out there. Is there extra juice against the Patriots knowing that that’s who you will be playing against?
A: It doesn’t matter. No.
Q: Last time they played, obviously you weren’t there, but there were little pre-game festivities that went on there was a little pushing and shoving. Is that something that’s been talked about in the locker room in case something like that happens this week?
A: I mean, nobody has those intentions at all. It’s not something that people are talking about at all.
WR Ed Eagan
Q: What wide receiver has taken you under your wing?
A: I learn from all of the veteran guys. Marquise [Goodwin] and Robert [Woods] are two of the veteran guys in the group, so they help me the most.
Q: How do you feel you’re handling the offense and the playbook?
A: Good. Pretty good. Still a transition, so I’m still working every day. It’s good though.
Q: Are you expecting to play this week?
A: We’ll see how it goes.
CB Stephon Gilmore
Q: What does Tom Brady do that makes things so unstoppable?
A: They just manage their offense so well. I mean he’s been in it forever. He’s probably the best quarterback to ever play the game. He just puts his guys in position to make plays. You know what I’m saying? We look at matchups pretty good and, you know, we go from there.
Q: Does it surprise you that at his age, taking a month off, that he’s slinging it just as well as he ever has?
A: It don’t surprise me. Like I said, he’s the best quarterback we’ve ever played, so he’s throwing it like he hasn’t missed a beat. So we’ve got to be prepared, we’ve got to get to him. We can’t show him what we’re in, and see what they do early and adjust from there.
Q: Do they seem as complete as you’ve seen that offense over the years? Both tight ends now, both healthy, and the running game is physical with Blount. Do they seem as complete as you’ve seen in your times facing them?
A: Yeah they’ve got two great tight ends now. They used to have one. So we’ve got to be on them two guys and they’ve got (Julian) Edelman, you know, work the slot. (Chris) Hogan making plays. So we’ve got to be real physical with them guys. You know, we’ve got to get to them. That’s the main thing. We’ve got to get to them and make them make second guess and go from there.
G Richie Incognito
Q: What do you see with the Patriots, defensively, and the stuff that they do on film? Have they changed much since the first time you played them?
A: They’re playing some bigger personnel stuff. They’re playing really well. With 12 back in the mix, they’re used to playing with the lead and that kind of changes what they do. They’re a very good team, they’re hard to beat, they put up a lot of points, and they play good, sound, fundamental defense.
Q: With the injury report being so long, how does that affect you guys with everything – even mentality-wise?
A: You know, I’ve been in this league long enough that you don’t even pay attention to the injury report. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to see who’s healthy on Sunday. Whoever’s healthy on Sunday, that’s who plays. It could be one thing on Wednesday, change on Thursday, another thing on Friday – so you can’t really pay much attention to it.
Q: Sustaining drives – a couple too many three-and-outs in the second half. The best defense against Brady may be just keeping him on the sidelines. Is that something that you guys are stressing – third downs and the little things for the offense?
A: That’s always our focus. Stay on the field on third downs, pick up first downs because when you’re picking up first downs, we’re usually scoring points. Three-and-out, we’re usually off the field real quick. When we pick up that first first down, that’s when really find rhythm and really get rolling so that’s our focus this week. Pick up first downs, stay on the field, and get that run game going again.
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
Q: Does Tom Brady look a little over the hill to you these days?
A: I’m not doubting that man for one second. That dude is a great quarterback. Everything is good around him and everything he does is like – he doesn’t really make the crowd, but when he comes in, everybody just forms around him. He’s that type of person for New England.
Q: Last time, you were preparing for, technically, three different quarterbacks. Preston [Brown] was talking about watching Kent State film for Edelman as a quarterback. Now you know who you have and you know the task at hand. Is there more homework now that there’s more film? There’s always a wrinkle that the Patriots throw in, right?
A: Right. There’s more homework due to the fact that there are very minute details in our game plan that we have to focus on. The big stuff? You can stop all of [Brady’s] big stuff. It’s the little things that he does well that get him to be the quarterback that he is today. Making certain shakes, him knowing what coverage you’re in and then taking advantage of you in that coverage – we’re going to have to lie to him a lot. We’re going to have to lie to him as far as disguising, we’re going to have to lie to him as far as alignments, where we’re showing up on the field, and then play our coverage behind him.
Q: Complicated, isn’t it? It’s like a test.
A: He’s complicated. He’s a complicated guy, so you’ve got to play complicated with him. He’s like a poker player. He’s going to let you show your hand first, and then he’s going to throw his hand out. That’s the kind of game you have to play.
QB Tyrod Taylor
Q: Is it a telling thing for you to see New England’s DBs at the top of the tackle list?
A: They have some very physical defensive backs. They’ve got some guys that aren’t afraid to come up and tackle, so I think that credits the staff and they have a physical team. A very disciplined team. Most corners that you go up against aren’t the first ones to come tackle, but these guys definitely play physical.
Q: You’ve played them three times now. Do they show you different looks or do they stay true against you guys to how they’ve played in those three games?
A: There’s always going to be a couple wrinkles. They’ve got a foundation that they believe in, so they’re definitely going to stick to some of the stuff, but you’ve gotta prepare for a couple wrinkles. It boils down to the execution and playing smart against these guys.
Q: You talk about how every game is a big game, but this game seems particularly big to keep you guys right behind them. How much are you looking forward to that chance?
A: Definitely excited. Like you said; every game is a big game in this league. You can’t overlook any week, but definitely excited to play against the Patriots. Of course it’s a divisional game, but there’s definitely a rivalry in its own. I’m excited to play in this game as well as everyone else in the locker room.
Q: How do you guys work around these injuries?
A: We have tremendous confidence in the guys that are able to play, that are going to play. I have tremendous confidence in those guys too. Injuries are part of the sport that you can’t really control so you have to be able to deal with it when it happens and prepare guys to be ready to play and make plays when those opportunities come.
Q: Quarterback to quarterback. What is your level of admiration for Tom Brady? Especially coming back from what he’s had to overcome?
A: Oh, I’ve always been a fan of Tom Brady. The way he prepares, his focus on the field, his competitiveness is definitely something that stands out and me being a quarterback definitely have always looked up to him. We actually have the same birthday as well, too. That’s kinda like a cool fact, but he’s one of the greats, if not the greatest to play this game, so I’ve definitely been watching him for a while and I’m excited to play against him.
Q: Is there anything that he does that you’re like subliminally, “Hey that’s what he does, I can do that.”
A: Just his focus each and every week. Not letting what ever happened the week before affect him moving forward and he’s done a good job of that and like I said; there are plenty of things you can take away from his game and try to incorporate it into your own game, but that one of the things that I look at and that I really admire.
Q: Knowing how tight their execution seems to be week after week; how difficult is it to match that especially with guys that are only going to get a limited amount of time on the practice field?
A: We have to play our game. Do the things we are comfortable with doing and put time into that and that’s what we’re doing each and every week. This game isn’t any different as far as preparation. Like I said, it really is up to us going out there and executing it and playing smart football.
Q: Tell us about, Ed Eagan, the wide receiver that you guys promoted.
A: Yeah he’s been working his butt off. Eagan, I call him Tom Egan because I’m a Power watcher. I don’t know if you watch Power, but Ed is definitely a talented guy. He puts in the extra work and we can see him. He’s actually working behind you guys now, but just seeing him on the off days coming over here always asking questions and trying to get better. Definitely admire the way he works, glad to have him up and hopefully we get him some footballs.
Q: Rex says he looks like Wes Welker when he’s been throwing balls, what do you see?
A: Actually, EJ (Manuel) has spent more time throwing passes with him and the scout team. I’ve gotten the chance to throw to him here lately, but yes he definitely reminds you of Wes Welker, a very talented slot receiver. Hopefully we can make some plays with him.
Q: Robert Woods was back today what did you see with him? How limited was he?
A: He was limited.
Q: So he didn’t do a whole lot?
Q: What affect does he have on you?
A: I’m able to learn off of different guys. I’m able to spread the ball around. I’m comfortable throwing to those guys, building more chemistry each and every week with those guys and I’m going out there and having fun with them. That’s one thing that I remind those guys. Just have fun. Some of those guys are being asked to fill big roles. Roles that maybe they didn’t expect going into the season, but it’s still football, gotta have fun and we’re still taking it day-by-day as far as the chemistry goes.
Q: Justin (Hunter) was on the field a lot. For like 93% of the snaps especially in the red zone. Is that someone you’re looking at because of his size or really does it depend on the match-up you see when you get out there?
A: Match-up is more than size, especially in the red zone. I mean he’s definitely a bigger receiver. A guy with tremendous athletic ability as far as jumping up and going to get a ball, so I definitely trust him on those plays. We’ll see how good we can get moving forward.
WR Robert Woods
Q: So you didn’t practice last week, didn’t play. Now you’re back out there. How are you feeling?
A: I’m still feeling good. I’m still trying to work my way back in. Just trying to get a feel of it and get ready to go.
Q: What was it about last week that made you feel like you couldn’t play on Sunday?
A: I couldn’t really move. Couldn’t run and couldn’t do what I had to do, physically, to go out there and provide for this team. Blocking, receiving – I wasn’t ready to go.
Q: So how much better is it two days later?
A: It feels pretty good. Still trying to get it right, but I’ve got to go out there and push through some things and go out there and play.